10 Rules of Dance Class Etiquette

terry_green_weddingEven though I’ve been referred to as a drill sergeant by some students, I think I’m a pretty laid back instructor. Admittedly, I adore ritual and symmetry when it comes to training the body and preparing it for dance. I like to explore and energize planes of movement that we don’t get to use everyday. I thrive in playfulness and utilizing gravity and momentum. This is probably my modern dance background peeking through! Some of you come from a dance background while most of you the bulk of your dancing has been social.  Middle Eastern or Belly Dance has a large component of social dancing to it. This fact is important to remember, it is a dance of a culture and it’s people woven into the threads of their daily life.  But my Western upbringing requires a structure to bring it to life for you….so here are some ground rules.  FYI, these will serve you in any dance class of any genre.  They will save you embarrassment, save face and garnish respect from your instructor.

  • If there is a class going on when you enter the studio, please be quiet and allow the class to come to an organic close as opposed forced to close because of your loud chatter and interruptions.
  • Be on time.  If you are late, please don’t start talking to your friend in the front of the class.  Go to the back of the room and warm up and then integrate into class as unobtrusively as possible.  It’s also a good idea to apologize at the end of class for being late.  It shows a measure of respect to your teacher and the other students.
  • If you have a question, feel free!  Just please wait until the music is turned off.  It’s hard to hear you or answer you if you can’t be heard.  If you have a question, ask the instructor.  Why would you want an answer from a student, when you can get it from your teacher?
  • Don’t chew gum.  Park it in your cheek and keep it there.  I’ve been called on the carpet more than once from masters in front of the whole class!  I chew gum while I teach, because I get “cotton mouth” from speaking.  Aside from the aesthetic, it can be dangerous!
  • Respect each other’s personal space.  Whoever got there first, gets it.  Please don’t obstruct another student’s view of themselves in the mirror or the instructors.  If you get there late, don’t expect the class to accommodate your place, go to the back/side of the room.
  • Going across the floor…stay in lines and try to follow the guidelines of the phrase being taught.
  • Turn off your phone!  Unless you need to be available for a sick child or ailing family member.
  • Be respectful of the instructor and other students. Disrespect comes in many forms.  One form is your body language and eye contact or lack thereof. If your instructor is speaking; listen, if she is of the school of continually giving out corrections throughout class and she repeats it 3 times in a row and repeats the phrase or move ad nauseam it might be because  you haven’t glanced in her direction as she is trying to give you eye contact to direct the comment to you directly. One of personal faves (not)!! is the look of disdain.  You know the raised eyebrows, a little snarl, arms crossed or hands at the hips…looking like WTF is she saying or doing!
  • Don’t hesitate to leave the dance floor and take notes.  Instructors adore a thinking and engaged student.

I know I said 10 rules…what can I say?  Told you I was laid back!  Dance On!

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